I remember becoming a father 16 years ago for the first time and eagerly listening to ways to get our new-born son to sleep as we felt like we’d been through a proverbial hundred year war.

Don’t get me wrong, the pregnancy was easy (for me at least) and the delivery quicker than Amazon Prime, but we did not anticipate the fatigue.

Babies, even great babies like James Walton at birth, are exhausting.

Our second one, Ruby Walton, some 6 years later, made the first look as easy as shelling peas as she wouldn’t settle, wouldn’t sleep, moaned constantly, even on car journeys and instead of wondering why, we blamed the fact she was just bloody awkward – when instead she had a severe undiagnosed food allergy (coeliac disease like me which made her grumpy 24/7).

It would make you grumpy too you if you were ingesting what your body sees as poison – in this case, gluten.

I remember when she was born 11 years ago vividly and the sleepless summer I had with RSI from rocking her Moses basket 8 hours a night on my side of the bed.

I went back to teach, with my 30 second commute, utterly sleep-deprived and annoyed, after a supposed 6 week gap.

But we learned something with both James and Ruby and it’s stuck with us to this day.

If I need a power nap, I’ll put on daytime TV; if I want a longer sleep, I go to the cinema.

James would sleep for England in his car seat – he slept from Scunthorpe to Dover, then Calais to Bayeux when he was two; Ruby wouldn’t and still won’t.

We found though an easier way to get respite without burning fuel daily – the washing machine.

The washing machine saved our marriage and sanity.

Because when each child was propped in a rocker chair facing the machine, you could guarantee they’d nod off, only waking from deep sleep when the washing cycle ended after an hour.

It was the white noise apparently that did it.

We loved our washing machine more than each other in those early days.

There’s a parallel though with content marketing.

A lot of content I read online is white noise. It spins out sales jargon, washes out any emotional connection and frankly makes me want to nod off.

If you want content that gets visits, increases brand awareness, results in social shares, stop being white noise and actually say something worthwhile.

If you’re stuck on wash, rinse, spin, sell, give your head a wobble and rethink your strategy.

Your content needs to:

  1. Be enjoyable to read
  2. Add value to a reader
  3. Provide answers
  4. Tell stories

If you’re stuck on that 1 hour cycle boring everyone to sleep, with your washing machine blogs full of rinse and repeat stats, resulting in a dozing audience, find someone who can do all four things.

I can.

I know other writers who can too – just ask.

Wake up your website readers, don’t put them in a coma.